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Marcus was an expert at finding rat holes.

"You were looking for me?"

The Drazi who sat across from Marcus in the seedy underground bar glared at him from deep-set eyes in a dark green face that betrayed his race's reptilian origins. The Drazi were a short-tempered people and far from the brightest. In that respect, they had changed little since the time Marcus had dealt with them, but it would take more than three hundred years to make even a dent in Drazi social evolution. "Give them another million years, and I have every confidence they'll work out that whole salad fork thing." But Farn came highly recommended. For a Drazi, at any rate.

"I understand that you and some of your associates have achieved ... well, let's call it unauthorized access in most of the colony buildings," Marcus said.


And he's such an astonishing conversationalist, Marcus thought.

"So what can you tell me about the Neural Archives?"

The Drazi snorted. Unfortunately, when Drazi snorted, it came out of their cheek flaps and sounded utterly disagreeable. "Nothing of value there. Old papers. Old voices. Nothing to steal. Nothing to sell."

"And how's security in there?"

The Drazi's gaze didn't waver. "Nothing to steal," he repeated. "Nothing to sell."

"Is that Drazi for 'In my professional view they have very little security because the Archives are of only technical and academic interest?"

"Hmm," the Drazi said.

"Good," Marcus said. "In that case, I have a business proposition for you."

The Neural Archives used the very latest holographic crystal storage technology. Three hundred years ago, a standard-sized datacrystal could hold enough information to fill several libraries. Now, with pulse-burst enhancement and tachyon dual-layering, it was possible to
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